Minutes

Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

 

 

 

President Bollinger convened the meeting of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences at 12:10 p.m.

 

1.                  President Bollinger began his remarks by indicating how pleased he was to be here.He indicated that he was trying to learn as much as he could about Columbia as quickly as he could.He went on the mention space as one of the items high on his agenda.He acknowledged it as an acute issue, but believes that there are substantial possibilities for improving the situation.Over the next several months, he will begin discussing ways to articulate his intellectual agenda with the space agenda.

 

††††††††††† He then went on to report that the searches for the Provost and the Vice President for Arts and Sciences would be the next focus of his efforts, now that the inauguration and first meeting of the Board of Trustees were behind him.

 

2.                  It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meeting on April 30, 2002 be approved as presented.Professor Luciano Rebay voted in opposition, indicating that he believes the minutes only partially reflect his objections to matters involving the Italian Academy.The minutes were subsequently approved by majority vote.

 

3.                  The report of the Executive Committee of the Faculty was presented by Professor Andrew Nathan, ECFAS Chair.He began by extending a warm welcome to President Bollinger on behalf of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences.Professor Nathan wished him every success, as the Presidentís success will mean success for the Arts and Sciences.Professor Nathan also expressed the deep appreciation of the faculty to Vice President Cohen and Provost Cole for their outstanding work in securing a faculty of the highest eminence.

 

††††††††††† He then indicated that ECFAS had been meeting and had set its agenda for the year.The following will be the focus of their activities:

 

††††††††††† * The search for a Vice President for the Arts and Sciences will be foremost on the agenda.They have met with faculty, deans and with President Bollinger about the matter.In their meeting with President Bollinger, ECFAS assured him of their desire to assist in any way that will ensure a successful search.ECFAS will work to ensure a structure for the search process that secures the broadest faculty input.

 

††††††††††† * Shortly, ECFAS will reach a conclusion about the pending proposal to establish renewal appointments for lecturers.They expect to report on its disposition at the next meeting of the full faculty.

 

††††††††††† * Other issues that they are considering include:

 

††††††††††† --space

††††††††††† --salary equity

††††††††††† --retirement packages

††††††††††† --how the faculty deploys itself to meet the instructional needs of the students in all six schools

††††††††††† --how faculty contribute to the co-curricular experiences of students

††††††††††† --exploring ways in which decisions can be made among competing Arts and Sciences priorities.

 

4.                  Vice President Cohen began his remarks by adding his personal welcome to President Bollinger.

 

Vice President Cohen reported that the FY 02 budget closed in balance.He said that the budget for FY 03 was on plan and was expected to close as submitted.He pointed out that there are some very real challenges going forward, however, given economic externalities. He reminded faculty that the goal at the time of the April 2002 submission was to present a balanced budget for only three of the five years (FY 03, FY 04 and FY 05).He also reminded them that this circumstance is not unique to Columbia; it is one that is facing all universities.He assured the faculty that he will be staying in close touch with the Faculty Budget Group (FBG) and is likely to be holding more frequent meetings with the FBG this year.In bringing the budgetary issues to the attention of the faculty, he stressed that a fiscally challenging environment should not be interpreted as a budget crisis.

 

5.                  Professor Jack Snyder presented the report of the Academic Review Committee (ARC).He indicated that ARC is starting its second cycle of reviews of all units in the Arts and Sciences.The first cycle was begun in 1995-96.He noted that ARC is in the process of completing its reviews of Anthropology, Slavic Languages, Spanish and Portuguese and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies.During the current year, they will be reviewing Economics, Mathematics, Physics and the Heyman Center.

 

6.                  Vice President Cohen opened discussion of the annual faculty size and effort report by calling attention to several key items.

 

††††††††††† * The faculty grew by 15 FTEs in the three divisions.He commented that he believes that the faculty is still somewhat undersized.

 

††††††††††† * The tenure ratio now stands at 66.8%, having edged downward slightly from the previous year.He observed that this ratio places Columbia in a much healthier position than many of its peers, some of whom have tenure ratios in the 70+ range.The challenge will be to continue managing hiring to achieve a ratio of approximately 65%.

 

††††††††††† * Average teaching load continues to decline.This, unfortunately, is a national phenomenon.It is likely that there will be more downward pressure as public institutions are beginning to use reduced teaching load to recruit and retain faculty in lieu of higher salaries and other financial incentives.

 

††††††††††† * The decrease in doctoral enrollments is proceeding as projected in the Graduate School Enhancement Plan.Enrollments in masters only programs continue to grow.Vice President Cohen reminded the faculty that the tuition from the higher levels of masterís enrollment was replacing tuition from paying Ph.D.s removed in conjunction with the enhancement plan.

 

††††††††††† * The distribution of major and concentrators over the three divisions has been stable over the past four years.The numbers of majors and concentrators per faculty member in the social sciences is nearly twice that in the humanities and natural sciences.

 

††††††††††† * Class size has been tracked since 1994-95, the first year in which reliable data were available.Vice President Cohen pointed out that the profile has remained remarkably stable over the eight years.75% of all classes in the social sciences have enrollments of 25 or fewer.In the humanities, 93% of the classes are of this size, and in the natural sciences 66% have enrollments of 25 or fewer.

 

7.                  Vice President Cohen opened discussion on the science initiative with an overview of the process that resulted in the report currently before the faculty.He indicated that ARC decided to undertake the comprehensive science planning review based on the conclusion that strength in the sciences will be critical in the coming decade.ARC also thought that it was essential to bring the sciences to the same level of historical excellence as has existed in the humanities.Recent gains in reclaiming the past stature of the social sciences have made the need to take action in the sciences even more pointed.Vice President Cohen then highlighted the key findings of the review.

 

††††††††††† * It was concluded that Columbia was unique among universities in its capacity to bring almost all of its natural science departments into a top five status.

 

††††††††††† * It is estimated that it will require approximately $700 million to reach this goal.The resources must be incremental so as not to compromise existing strengths in the humanities and social sciences.

 

††††††††††† * Efforts should be made to foster increased interaction around scientific topics across Arts and Sciences departments, including in areas that would involve the humanities and social sciences.

 

††††††††††† * The expanded science initiative must include collaborative endeavors between the Health Sciences campus and the Morningside campus.

 

††††††††††† Vice President Cohen described the follow-on activities that have taken place since ARC released its report.The Arts and Sciences deans discussed it.It was also discussed by the faculties of each of the nine natural sciences departments.Vice President Cohen then met with the nine chairs and then with the group as a whole.The report was subsequently presented to ECFAS and to all 29 departmental chairs, and it is now being brought to the full faculty for discussion.

 

††††††††††† In response to a question from the floor inquiring about the extent to which the Health Sciences was a formal participant in the process, Vice President Cohen reported that efforts were made on an informal basis to articulate the science planning initiative of the Arts and Sciences with the strategic planning efforts of the Health Sciences.Vice President Fischbach met with the external team and provided written input into the review process.Provost Cole cited the review as an exemplar of a comprehensive planning process and assured the faculty that its recommendations are being integrated into ongoing space and other priority setting efforts within the broader university.

 

††††††††††† Several other faculty commented from the floor on the report.One noted that it could be a very valuable process for the social sciences, and another expressed the wish that such a review might have already been done so that it would have been possible to weigh all of the possibilities.Another faculty member asked how debt and fundraising would be harnessed to underwrite this endeavor, and yet another reminded the group of the need to address the space needs if the recommended hiring is to be possible.In response to a question about how this plan might be phased over the ten-year period imagined in the report, Vice President Cohen indicated that the next step must be to lay out the staging and broader implementation steps.

 

††††††††††† President Bollinger also spoke to the topic.He cited the report as an excellent base and assured the faculty that it will be incorporated as part of his own more comprehensive planning for the university.He acknowledged that it is important to respect all of the various core disciplines while simultaneously providing opportunities for cross-disciplinary initiatives.He alerted faculty that the budgetary realities are such that the $700 million cannot be forthcoming as a single amount.That doesnít mean, however, that the institution cannot begin to move forward.The necessary dollars will be found through the vehicles of classic fundraising and a capital campaign he expects to launch at some point, and through resources from New York City, State and business/industry partnerships, including those with pharmaceutical companies.

 

††††††††††† Vice President Cohen expressed the thanks of the Arts and Sciences to Charles Tilly and his committee of Robert Somerville and John Morgan for the extraordinary leadership they provided for this effort.

 

††††††††††† Dean Quigley then rose to provide background on the undergraduate education component of the science initiative.He indicated that he was speaking on behalf both the College and General Studies regarding the general science requirement that will be required of all undergraduates.He noted that the proposed science core course was consistent with the purpose of the broader Core as it was first articulated in 1919.He noted the important inter-relationships between general education and departmental majors and acknowledged that the question of how to do general education in science had long been a curricular challenge.He reported that the course that is being created by the faculty is one in which both general and specific science knowledge will be taught.

 

††††††††††† David Helfand gave a summary of the course as it is currently evolving.He indicated that the faculty had spent the last 18 months developing the model.The course is designed to replace the one-semester science course that GS and College students are currently required to take.All students will take the new science core course in their first year in the semester in which they are not taking the undergraduate writing course.

 

††††††††††† The course is designed to introduce students to the current frontiers of science and to inculcate in them the scientific modes of thought.It will consist of 14 lectures (three on each of 5 topics, to be followed by weekly discussion sections).The course is being piloted this year.

 

††††††††††† In response to a question from the floor regarding the way in which students will develop scientific technical skills through this model, Professor Helfand noted that there will be an associated web component with rich hyperlinks that will give students experience with modes of scientific inquiry.Further, students will still be required to take the currently-required year-long sequence courses.The hope is that they will become excited by the lectures and pursue additional coursework, going into depth in the topics introduced in the core course.

 

8.                  President Bollinger introduced Susan Feagin, Robert Kasdin and June Massell to the faculty and encouraged faculty to reach out and get to know these newest members of the community.

 

9.†††††††† Under New Business, Professor Rebay rose to speak to the need for a review of the Italian Academy.He read a motion asking President Bollinger to appoint a committee to review and report on the structure and governance of the Academy; the motion received a second.Professor Grieve advised the President that, under the procedures of the Arts and Sciences Faculty, motions made under new business must then go to ECFAS for a decision as to whether or not it is an appropriate topic for the agenda of an Arts and Sciences faculty meeting.As the immediate past chair of ECFAS she noted that previous motions on this topic had indeed been discussed by ECFAS and had been deemed as not appropriate for the agenda of the Arts and Sciences faculty because the Italian Academy was not an Arts and Sciences unit.The motion was referred to ECFAS for its consideration.

 

 

††††† President Bollinger by consensus adjourned the meeting at 1:55 pm.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Prepared by

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Roxie R. Smith

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Associate Vice President